Stop us if you've heard this one before. Another automaker is slowing down production in the face of slowing sales. This time, though, it's Audi that's making the announcement... the same Audi that posted impressive sales of over a million automobiles in 2008, making last year Audi's best ever despite the overall decline of the auto market. It seems that the German automaker realizes that all good things must come to an end, however, as it plans to schedule six days of reduced hours at its Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants. While this affects some 25,000 workers, it effectively safeguards their jobs in the process and preserves an existing agreement that between Audi and its labor union, called the Zukunft Audi (Future of Audi), which prohibits layoffs in the face of declining sales until 2011.
[Source: Audi]


Audi schedules six days of reduced work hours in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm

* Around 25,000 employees affected
* Adjustments in production also help to secure jobs

Audi has decided to institute a phase of reduced work hours for six days between February 20 and 27 at its Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants. The arrangement affects some 25,000 employees. Divisions that are not directly associated with the production of automobiles are exempted from the reduced work hours.

Despite the fact that Audi concluded 2008 with the sale of one million cars and a new sales record, the company will not be able to permanently elude the negative impact of the current financial crisis. "The overall demand in some major markets has dropped so drastically, especially in the last few weeks, that we've been forced to act," said Dr. Werner Widuckel, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources at AUDI AG. "This is our way of reacting to the downward trend in demand on worldwide car markets." The company is utilizing every possible instrument in its personnel policy arsenal. Personnel and production turntables between the plants have long been successfully used to utilize the capacity at the two locations as evenly as possible. "By reducing work hours we're securing the jobs of employees and can be confident of having good prospects for the future," Widuckel emphasized. He added that the company is holding to its long-term targets for growth and is continuing its model initiative as planned.

"Preparations are therefore continuing at full speed for the start of production of the six new models due for launch this year," said Frank Dreves, Member of the Board of Management for Production at AUDI AG.

Company management and the works council agree that the future of Audi's permanent staff is secure. This is also confirmed in the Zukunft Audi (Future of Audi) agreement that rules out layoffs due to operational conditions until 2011.

"The works councils in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm will be able to agree to the company's proposal for reduced work hours," said Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council of AUDI AG. He also emphasized that the reduction in work hours serves to secure jobs. "In the agreement on reduced hours compensation allowance, we agreed with the Board of Management on a gross increase in the reduced hours compensation. Through this, remuneration should for the most part be equalized."

Norbert Rank, Chairman of the Audi Works Council in Neckarsulm, added: "To avoid burdening the time accounts of our workers any further, the works council is supporting the recommendation of the company management for reduced work hours. We expect the management to step up its efforts to secure jobs at our locations."

AUDI AG sold a total of 1,003,000 cars in 2008 and thus achieved its thirteenth consecutive record year. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Györ (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). Aurangabad in India saw the start of local production of the Audi A6 at the end of 2007 and of the Audi A4 in early October 2008. The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG's wholly owned subsidiaries include Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A. in Sant'Agata Bolognese (Italy) and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi currently employs around 57,000 people worldwide, including 45,000 in Germany. The brand with the four rings invests more than €2 billion each year in order to sustain the company's technological lead embodied in its "Vorsprung durch Technik" slogan. Audi plans to significantly increase the number of models in its portfolio by 2015 to 40. The Audi brand celebrates its 100th birthday in 2009. The company was founded by August Horch in Zwickau on July 16, 1909; he named it Audi after the Latin translation of his surname ("hark!").

AUDI AG will present the complete results for the 2008 business year at its Annual Press Conference on March 10, 2009 in Ingolstadt.

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